Do you volunteer at your child's school? What jobs do you do?

(46 Posts)
PenguinBear Wed 26-Mar-14 20:41:50

Just interested to hear what you do and whether you have any say in it atall?

PenguinBear Thu 27-Mar-14 07:13:08


I have paid work now, but when I volunteered I listened to readers, practised phonics, helped with KS1 activities and general classroom admin i.e. laminating and displays.

I did have a say in it, although the listening to readers was the main activity as that's where the need was.
Some schools will have a very clear idea of what they want volunteers to do and others will discuss with you what your interests and strengths are.

poopsydaisy Thu 27-Mar-14 07:40:20

I don't help myself, but my friend does the weekly cooking session, another mum does reading (but she's a qualified teacher, now SAHM, so I guess has experience in that area already?). Another does weekly maths games. I don't know if any of them had any 'say' in what they did, as such, but they all thoroughly enjoy their time in classroom.

simpson Thu 27-Mar-14 08:21:01

I listen to kids read, help with phonics, put letters in book bags, hand out finish/art and crafty stuff to the relevant kids and help on school trips.

I love it smile

TeenAndTween Thu 27-Mar-14 09:59:40

I listen to readers.

However I would like to help with y5/6 maths.

lostintoys Thu 27-Mar-14 10:26:36

I listen to readers, help particular groups with maths/literacy topics, help with displays, and anything else that needs doing.

teafor1 Thu 27-Mar-14 10:29:35

I listen to readers.

gingercat12 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:50:21

Like simpson I help with craft stuff and fundraising. I also offered to read in case there is nothing to glue or laminate smile Maybe I should offer help with maths.
We always have a good chat with the other Mommies and teachers while having a cup of coffee. (I never drop off or pick up DS at the schoolgate, so it is my only chance to hear any gossips.)

Fuzzymum1 Thu 27-Mar-14 17:50:34

I work in school now but previously I was trained in a reading program called the better reading partnership. It involved three sessions a week of reading with a child for ten weeks at a time.

MerlinFromCamelot Thu 27-Mar-14 18:14:18

I'm a swimming teacher. I help voluntary with the scho swimming lessons. I get to work with those who can not swim at all and SEN who sometimes find the pool a stressful experience.

Ferguson Thu 27-Mar-14 18:28:18

When our DS started primary, the school invited parents to help; I did one day a week supporting reading with Yr1, Yr2, for five years. Once I felt confident, I also did Yr6 gardening activities Friday afternoons, and ran an after-school keyboard club with Yr6.

Got a job as TA at an infant school, for ten years; worked mainly Yr1, Yr2, but also Nursery and Reception. Had a lunchtime recorder group for ten years; coached Yr2 on percussion to accompany the Christmas production each year; did computer and touch typing activities; trained other TAs on computers (twenty years ago, when computers were less common to most people.)

Then two years as TA in a tough comprehensive.

Retired, but continued voluntary work in primary and secondary. One of my very first 'readers' turned up again seventeen years later, on her final year of Teacher Training; our roles were reversed, as SHE needed to direct ME in the classroom! She is now a successful teacher.

zaphod Thu 27-Mar-14 18:29:31

I set up and run the library. Every week I read to each room (they come to the library), and they then choose and check out the books they want for the week. Years ago this took a couple of hours, now it takes the whole of the school day, allowing for breaks. Once a year, I run the bookfair. I do it on a voluntary basis. I choose which books to read, and which one's to stock, and I'm now trying to get the classroom libraries up to scratch. I started in a storage cupboard but now have a room with sofas, and cushions.

scottishmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 18:34:36

No,I'm at work the PTA types can volunteer seeing they dont work and do faff all

Ferguson Thu 27-Mar-14 18:36:00

PS: regarding 'having a say', once you are established and the staff know what you can contribute to the school, I think you can probably negotiate what activities, jobs, you do, particularly if you have useful skills or specialised experience, which may well exceed that of the teachers in some cases.

tumbletumble Thu 27-Mar-14 18:39:35

I help in year 1 (reading comprehension) and nursery (simple maths, eg counting) every week. Once a month I help year 3 and year 4 change their library books (only takes 10 mins).

17leftfeet Thu 27-Mar-14 18:45:13

I do maths extension with the higher level maths groups in ks2, listen to reading, help with art lessons, set up iPads, help with displays, go on school trips -whatever needs doing really

I don't really get to pick but can influence which children I have in certain groups based on how well they work together when they are with me
So I'll be asked to do reading with 12 children in groups of 4, and I'll sort the groups

I really enjoy it and the more I do the more I feel I'm contributing and I do have the respect of the teachers

TheBuskersDog Thu 27-Mar-14 18:49:29

Oh what a surprise, scottishmummy has found another thread on which to have a pop at SAHMs. Actually in my experience a lot of 'PTA types' also work.

QuiteQuietly Thu 27-Mar-14 18:50:54

Zaphod That sounds amazing - your school are really lucky to have you!

I do cutting and laminating, repairing books, photocopying, stuffing book bags, sticking things on walls, make coffee, mop up spills and "accidents" and sometimes take a few infants to the junior library to supervise their selections. I did request not be in my DC's classrooms and said I would do anything, but would prefer not to listen to reading (as I know nothing about phonics or reading methods here). There is always plenty to do.

In our last school I did cutting & copying and also played board games with a group of yr1s - usually the same kids and I still don't know whether it was maths help or a nuture group (but always wondering what happened to them).

TheBuskersDog Thu 27-Mar-14 18:51:09

Also in my school a lot of the parents who do help out do so on their day off.

Hey, sm, some of us like our DC's company and value their education.

Live and let live, eh? wink

Kantha Thu 27-Mar-14 19:44:21

Sharpen the pencils! The TAs always seem hugely grateful for this. However, the class teacher did have to 'train' me this week not to sharpen them too much grin

I do other things too.

rabbitstew Thu 27-Mar-14 20:35:53

Hmm, yes, TheBuskersDog - my experience of PTA-types is that most of them work full time or part time in paid jobs in addition to volunteering. Same applies to school governors, people who run cubs, scouts, brownies, etc, etc. Does Scottishmummy take the attitude that you should only get off your backside if someone's paying you? Or that work is only work if someone is paying you to do it?

scottishmummy Thu 27-Mar-14 21:19:48

I like my weans,I value their education,I don't need to faff about at school to demonstrate this

MerlinFromCamelot Thu 27-Mar-14 21:19:51

- my experience of PTA-types is that most of them work full time or part time in paid jobs in addition to volunteering.

Same here... In my experience if a job needs doing ask a busy person. smile

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 27-Mar-14 21:24:59

I go in once a week and listen to reading usually. However the last few weeks I have been helping with spelling, handwriting and, this week, maths. Which is good as I was getting a little bored with all the same reading books! I decided I'd rather do this sort of thing than the PFA.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 27-Mar-14 21:26:37

That sounds great zaphod

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 27-Mar-14 21:30:27

Scottishmummy, nobody would think badly of you not going into school - so why look down on those who do? I don't feel a 'need' to do it - I enjoy it and the school are always asking for volunteers. And I have the time - sorry about that.

Parentingfailure Thu 27-Mar-14 21:31:27

In my dc school it is a badge of honour to help in school. There's a rurally a waiting list. Every single one is a sahm, none of the working parents do it.
My dd would love me to but it's impossible when I work 50+ hours a week. I really don't think it's true that working mums help out at all.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Thu 27-Mar-14 21:31:40

I work, but I am on the PTA so I support the school in that way as I'm unable to be there for school hour activities.

Some of us are so amazing that we can do both wink

Parentingfailure Thu 27-Mar-14 21:31:53

Actually, not rurally

HumphreyCobbler Thu 27-Mar-14 21:37:51

I used to volunteer in the school I also did supply teaching in. It is the school my dc attend. I did a lot of assessment activities as a volunteer. It was bliss to be able to do this without managing a class at the same time, but it would possibly not have been appropriate for me to have done this had I not also worked at the school. They knew they could trust my confidentiality.

I like to see how long it takes scottishmummy to post something insulting on threads like this.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 27-Mar-14 21:39:41

I can assure you I didn't faff. I used my professional knowledge to benefit everyone.

But the other helpers were hugely beneficial to the children, esp those whose parents never bothered to hear them read at home as volunteers gave them the opportunity to practise.

Lesleythegiraffe Thu 27-Mar-14 21:55:12

In my school, we've found that having parent "helpers" in school is more bother than it's worth.

The ones we've had are only there to snoop and tittle-tattle to their friends about which child is in which reading group etc etc and who got told off by the teacher.

We now have no parent helpers and are getting on just fine.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 27-Mar-14 22:06:11

I agree it can be not so beneficial Lesley, I have had to put off unsuitable parents who were only interested in snooping in classes I taught before now. It has to be managed properly if it is going to work.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 27-Mar-14 22:29:51

Some teachers love them others hate them. Depends on the reason they want to do it, if they cant bear to leave their PFB then they are not likely to be of any use or they want to gauge where little Tommy is compared to others.

Ours has some parents that read or gardening, they are generally not allowed to work with their childs class which does tend to weed out those doing it to be with their children.

Hawkshaw Fri 28-Mar-14 09:11:54

I do maths with some children in my own child's class and it's working out fine. I haven't felt the need to snoop on levels or cling to my child who I see quite enough of out of school. Plus I have a job. And 'my' maths group are doing really really well. I love helping. It's a lot of fun.

Zipitydooda Sat 29-Mar-14 10:46:57

I run a Code Club teaching children (y4-6 so far) computer coding. They create their own computer games.
It's so enjoyable and seeing the progress they make and the increase in their confidence as they progress. They are developing really useful skills such as logically solving problems and collaboration with each other as well as the coding.

NewtRipley Sat 29-Mar-14 13:11:57

scottishmummy's SAHM-thread batphone just went off and she's swooped into action

NewtRipley Sat 29-Mar-14 13:12:51


I used to volunteer - daily small group reading, It got me an actual Job so I could stop faffing around

NewtRipley Sat 29-Mar-14 13:14:24


That happened at our school. Some people wouldn't know confidentiality if it stood up in their soup. So it was stopped for a while then reinstated with stricter guidelines

chocolateshoes Sat 29-Mar-14 13:21:25

I work 3 days a week and on one of my days off I listen to readers. Our school asks for volunteers to do certain jobs and we sign up at the meet the teacher evening at the start if the year. Other jobs included going to the swimming pool with them, helping in reception, changing the reading books, cutting stuff out.

scottishmummy Sat 29-Mar-14 13:50:38

You're slow on uptake newt,you noticed on Saturday that I posted Thursday
I think you need to swop to be quicker on uptake if you're going to take the piss
And it's not a housewife thread?its a who's a school volunteer thread

Retropear Sat 29-Mar-14 15:09:58

No but you still managed to attack sahp.

"the PTA types can volunteer seeing they don't work and do faff all"


NewtRipley Sat 29-Mar-14 18:39:00

Believe it or not sm, i am not onMn all the time.

It not being about housewives, how is it you brought that into it in your first post? Ironic.

Bonsoir Sun 30-Mar-14 11:09:13

Yes I do, but I stay right on the margins of the Parents' Association (French equivalent of a PTA) and volunteer in a very specific way on a very specific issue (bridging the numerous gaps in the English curriculum).

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